The decision by the Welsh Government to move away from the rest of the UK and to ban e-cigarettes in enclosed spaces has been noted by HR and health and safety experts at Croner as a possible answer to employers' problems with e-cigarettes in the workplace.
Managing Director Mike Allen noted that, over the last three years, Croner's Business Support Helpline has seen a sharp increase in calls on this subject, as e-cigarettes have grown in popularity.
He explained that, although smoking in enclosed (or substantially enclosed) public places, including workplaces, was banned in July 2007 the legislation does not apply to e-cigarettes as they do not appear to fall within the definition of "smoking".
This has presented employers with a dilemma of whether or not to allow e-cigarettes at work, Mr Allen continued.
"At present, he said, "there is no evidence to indicate that there are any health effects from e-cigarettes, therefore it’s up to the employer to decide whether they are permitted in the workplace and to enforce a ban through the organisation’s internal policies."
In this context, the fact that Ministers in Wales are looking to ban e-cigarettes in enclosed spaces will be a great help to employers, Mr Allen suggested. He highlighted that the use of e-cigarettes at work might not fit in with the intended professional image of the organisation and its likely promotion of employee wellbeing.
"A workplace smoking policy can normally be adapted very easily to extend the definition of smoking to include the use of e-cigarettes," he concluded. "However, as with any other changes to employment policies, care needs to be taken to ensure the change is effective."